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2016-61: Competency set for forensic social professional (Call 2016-61)

Target group

Employees who work with (groups of) clients who have been placed in a compulsory treatment framework due to a sentence or sanction.

The forensic social professional

In the Netherlands, there are more than 20,000 professionals who work in a justice system framework, such as probation supervisors, group leaders in youth detention centres, family guardians at the Youth Care Agency or supervisors in hospital order detention clinics. All these professionals have the task of supervising adults or children who are a danger or who are at risk. These forensic social (and educational) professionals work with people who have been subject to interference based on a legally legitimate intervention, sanction or sentence. The social task for forensic professionals is therefore to reduce recidivism of crime, child abuse or neglect. The core of professional action consists of a combination of risk management (checking, controlling, limiting) and change (guiding, motivating or treating).

An effective working alliance in a forced framework differs from that in the voluntary framework. The promotion of motivation, for example, has a specific dynamic when interference is imposed. Clarity about the conditions and the position of the professional plays an important role here. In addition to focusing on safety and recidivism, this professional also works on behavioural changes in reintegration and participation in the clients’ own social circles. This work requires a high degree of professionalism, effective methodologies, specific competencies and targeted training. This project has, therefore, further developed a competence profile for professionals in this specific forensic context. This publication describes the seven competencies that are unique to the forensic social professional. They serve to improve the professional competencies of the social worker and the youth and family professional. The competency set allows professional associations, training institutes and employers to improve their training programmes and professional practice. This also facilitates transitions, training and coordination with educational institutes. Professionals can use the competency set to reflect on their performance.

Executive party

This project has been designed and managed by Movisie, in collaboration with the following parties: the three probation organizations, DJI, the ‘Working in a legal framework’ lectureship (Hogeschool Utrecht).